Photo Credit: Aquidneck Island Planning Commission
Solar and Beyond: the Aquidneck Island Energy Forum
Coming to Salve Regina Pell Center on September 22nd

We are in the midst of a revolution, with signs all around us that Rhode Island’s energy landscape is rapidly changing. This summer we watched the nation’s first offshore wind turbines make their journey south through Narragansett Bay to the waters off Block Island, while to our north the closing of the Brayton Point coal-fired power plant is becoming a reality. To the east, Tiverton and Little Compton are proving that local resources like energy efficiency and rooftop solar can avoid the need for additional grid infrastructure, and, to our west, the state’s first net zero energy home was constructed in Jamestown. An exciting change is occurring in the ways we generate and use energy – opening new opportunities for communities and neighborhoods to benefit from local, clean, and efficient energy options.

Aquidneck Island can benefit from community energy too, but what do our opportunities look like?

On September 22nd, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC), in partnership with Acadia Center and Emerald Cities Rhode Island, is hosting a community forum at Salve Regina’s Pell Center to discuss just that.

AIPC is a non-profit organization with the mission of preserving and improving Aquidneck Island’s environment, economy and quality of life, while Acadia Center and Emerald Cities Rhode Island are regional non-profit organizations working on energy policy and programs to benefit communities.

Keynote speakers at the forum will include some of the state’s leading advocates and decision-makers on energy policy: State Representatives Lauren Carson and Deborah Ruggiero; Marion Gold, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission; and Carol Grant, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.

“This is an important and timely discussion,” writes Representative Carson. “The speakers and panelists each bring unique expertise and knowledge for building a cleaner and renewable energy agenda for Aquidneck Island. This smart step can put the three municipalities on the same track towards a future of clean and local energy projects and investments.”

A panel discussion with energy experts and leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors will follow the speakers. The evening will end with a discussion about building a clean, sustainable and affordable energy future for the communities of Aquidneck Island and beyond.

“AIPC is really pleased to be able to bring this important event to the Island, and grateful for the support of all our partners,” said Hilary Stevens, Chair of AIPC. “The “Solar and Beyond” forum will build on AIPC’s recent work, helping Aquidneck Island to expand clean energy – while kicking off a terrific series of public conversations among Island communities.”

The Aquidneck Island Energy Forum will take place from 6:00-8:00pm on Thursday, September 22nd at the Salve Regina’s Pell Center, 518 Bellevue. Admission is free and open to the public but space is limited. Register online here.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.